Year 5 experience life as a Viking


On Tuesday and Wednesday last week, year 5 got to experience life in Viking times when we visited the Ancient Technology Centre at Cranborne.

As we had already learnt quite a lot about the Vikings as raiders and conquerors, this was an excellent opportunity to learn about their lifestyle when they settled in Britain.







Firstly, the knowledgeable guides from the ATC (Jen and Anthony)  showed us Neolithic shelters, an Iron Age roundhouse and an Anglo-Saxon food store so that we could put the Viking period into a chronological context. We went into the roundhouse (also called the earthhouse due to it being built into the side of a hill and having a grass roof), where we were lucky enough to have a fire-making demonstration. Year 5 really impressed their teachers and the ATC guides with their knowledge of different ways of making fires (flint and steel and a special fungus called King Alfred’s cakes) but Anthony showed us another way to make a fire using a piece of charred cloth.                           








We were very excited to have proper Viking jobs to do, the first being to build a fence to keep children away from the pond.  The Vikings would have needed lots of fences to keep enemies out and their animals in.  We had to choose suitable hazel rods and then weaved them in and out of the posts.  Anthony had a billhook, which he used to split the rods and also to cut off the ends.




Cosy and warm inside the roundhouse, we learnt how important wool was to the Vikings. The colour of their clothes showed how important and rich they were, with pink having the highest status. Jen, who is very knowledgeable about ancient textiles, told us that without wool the Viking age would never have happened as they needed wool for the sails on their longboats.








We really enjoyed learning how to play Viking games – the shield game was our favourite and we could see how it would teach the Vikings to be nimble warriors as they dodged the ball using the shield. The Viking artefacts that we looked at were also very interesting and rounded off an extremely enjoyable (if somewhat cold) school trip.